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Massena backs up to its riverfront.  Leaders hope a dam can spark a revival.
Massena backs up to its riverfront. Leaders hope a dam can spark a revival.

Massena's hydropower hopes fuel debate

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In 1997, Massena's 200-year old dam breached, sending miles of slow, flat water downstream. Environmentalists saw the change as a victory for free-flowing rivers and the endangered fish that thrive in them. But many Massena residents miss the high, placid waters of the old Grasse River. People used to fish and boat there. Local leaders have started a movement to return the pond, by building a hydropower dam half-a-mile downriver from where the old dam used to be. The dam's fueled a classic debate of the economy versus the environment, but with a twist. A Superfund site of toxic chemicals is also in the mix. David Sommerstein reports.

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Bruce Carpenter, NY Rivers United, standing upstream from the proposed dam site, says the river's better off free-flowing.

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